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UBC scientists reveal world’s first molecular-level evaluation of Omicron variant’s spike protein

UBC scientists reveal world’s first molecular-level evaluation of Omicron variant’s spike protein

Canadian researchers have performed the world’s first molecular-level evaluation of Omicron’s spike protein, revealing key details about why the brand new variant is so resistant and infectious.

Omicron has a “exceptional” 37 spike protein mutations, mentioned the College of British Columbia’s Dr. Sriram Subramaniam — three to 5 instances greater than another variant throughout the pandemic to this point.

“Due to these mutations it’s very efficient at evading the binding of antibodies that may neutralize and block its entry,” Subramaniam defined.

“On the similar time, it additionally retains its skill to bind successfully with the mobile receptors that take it into cells. That mixture of the 2 makes it notably transmissible.”

Learn extra:

Omicron FAQ: Every thing you have to know concerning the COVID-19 variant

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Subramaniam’s workforce at UBC used a cryo-electron microscope to look at how the COVID-19 variant’s spike protein mutations influence Omicron’s behaviour on the molecular degree.

Their analysis was revealed final week and is ready for peer evaluation.

It discovered that a few of Omicron’s mutations create “salt bridges” and hydrogen bonds between the spike protein and human cell receptors that appear to extend the power of their attachment to human cells, whereas one other one among its mutations decreases that power.

General, its binding skill surpasses the unique SARS-CoV-2 virus and is extra similar to the Delta variant.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: More than 2,300 confirmed Omicron cases in Canada to date, Tam says'

COVID-19: Greater than 2,300 confirmed Omicron circumstances in Canada so far, Tam says

COVID-19: Greater than 2,300 confirmed Omicron circumstances in Canada so far, Tam says

The molecular-level evaluation gives a “map” of interactions that might enable researchers to develop more practical therapies towards Omicron, mentioned Subramaniam.

For now, nevertheless, the workforce’s analysis indicated that vaccines are the very best protection.

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“There’s much less evasion of the antibody response, much less evasion of the virus with people who’ve been double-vaccinated,” defined the professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Learn extra:

Canadians ought to ‘hunker down’ to sluggish Omicron unfold, Trudeau says

Circumstances of the Omicron variant in Canada are rising quickly with extra 2,360 infections confirmed so far.

Provinces from coast to coast have enacted new public well being restrictions to curb its unfold, and prime medical doctors throughout the nation recommend Omicron may quickly be the dominant variant of COVID-19.

Final week, Canada averaged simply over 5,000 new COVID-19 infections per day. On Tuesday, it reported greater than 11,000 new infections nationwide.

Since COVID-19 arrived in Canada in January final yr the nation has seen shut to 2 million infections and simply over 30,000 deaths.

With information from Aaron D’Andrea and Leslie Younger

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© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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